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Algeria seeks French admission of colonial crimes

February 8, 2021 at 6:10 pm

21st March 1962: French soldiers search a civilian in an Algiers street, during the Algerian War of Independence. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

France’s escape from acknowledging its colonial crimes will not last long, the Algerian government said Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“France’s escape from recognising its colonial crimes in Algeria cannot last long. A criminal usually does everything possible to avoid admitting his crimes,” Information Minister Ammar Belhimer said in a statement released by state-run daily El-Massa.

The minister also stressed that work and communication between Algeria and France will continue for more achievements, the most important of which is the moral achievement, which is the recognition of France’s colonial crimes.

Belhimer’s remarks were the first official reaction two weeks after France issued a report on colonisation of Algeria from 1830 to 1962, which sparked widespread criticism in Algeria for ignoring “colonial crimes”.

READ: Algeria to collect 1 million signatures for bill criminalising French colonialism

On January 20, French historian Benjamin Stora delivered a report on the colonial era of Algeria to French President Emmanuel Macron. The French media quoted the Elysee Palace as saying: “The report does not mean taking a step towards an apology to Algeria.”

The Algerian authorities and historians say this period witnessed murders of nearly 5 million people, as well as campaigns of displacement and plundering of wealth, as well as theft of thousands of documents and artifacts, some of them dating back to the Ottoman era (1515-1830).

French officials reiterated on several occasions the necessity of turning a new page in relations, but Algeria repeatedly demanded official recognition from Paris of the colonial crimes.